Rebecca’s Tips: Taru Mikoshi

Because April in SF often is synonymous with Cherry Blossom Festival… here’s Taru Mikoshi carrying!

Every year in April, San Francisco Taru Mikoshi Ren carries their Mikoshi down the streets of San Francisco’s Japantown for the finale of the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival’s Grand Parade. All members of the public (18+) are welcome to join!

The original SF Taru Mikoshi debuted at the first Cherry blossom Festival in 1967, carried by about 25 people. It has grown since then to its current style with double elevated platforms and double layers of four sake barrels, one barrel on top, and a recently acquired enormous Hoh Oo (Phoenix). It weighs over 1000 pounds and requires 140 to 160 people to carry it.  The SF Taru Mikoshi has been the highlight of the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival for the last 42 years. The Mikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine in which a god or deity is believed to reside. In early days it was believed that carrying the Mikoshi would get rid of any curse that one might have and that shaking it would spread the benefit of the god’s power. Taru Mikoshi originated at the time of the 1868 Meiji Restoration. When Meiji Emperor entered Edo (Tokyo) Castle, one of many things he did was to invite the head of each of approximately 1500 communities within Tokyo to the castle and present them with a barrel of sake, similar to the one we carry. Spontaneous festivities erupted throughout Tokyo, and after they finished drinking, citizens carried the empty sake barrel on a platform for 4 days to show deep appreciation and unconditional support to the new government.








Northern California Cherry Blossom Fest: Japantown


From traditional Tea Ceremony to new pop culture, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the few places outside of Japan to see the breadth of Japanese Culture. We invite you to check out the many groups preforming, presenting and demonstrating their art at the festival. Here are some events that you might not know is taking place:


The Bonsai and Suiseki display at the 2016 Cherry Blossom Festival will take place the second weekend inside the Japanese Cultural Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) at 1840 Sutter St. Five organizations from the Bay Area — Bonsai Society of San Francisco, Marin Bonsai Club, Yamato Bonsai Kai, California Suiseki Society, and contributions from the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt—provide this special display. Bonsai is the centuries old art of cultivating a tree in a pot for display in the garden or, briefly, in the home. Early illustrations show this art in India, traveling to China and brought to a high level of beauty in Japan. From these beginnings, it has traveled throughout the world.


Ikebana is one of the most famed Japanese traditional arts, and traces its origin back hundreds of years. Ikebana was historically placed within the “tokonoma” alcove of the Japanese home. Now it is practiced in most of the contemporary world as an artistic decoration placed throughout the home. In its basic form, an Ikebana arrangement follows a fixed pattern: a triangle of three points representing Heaven, Earth and Human.  From there, many other guidelines are taught depending on the flower and branch material used.   Ikebana usually contains the foliage and flowers of the season at hand, used in their natural state, except when arrangers enhance the beauty with trimmings. All demonstrations and displays will be at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California.


The Northern California Cherry Blossom food area every year is a crowd favorite. The block long area located on Webster Street between Post and Sutter is uniquely run solely by non-profit organizations. You can find the best of Japanese outdoor festival food prepared by heart of the Japanese community organizations. All proceeds benefit each organization.


Miyabikai displays their dolls every year at the festival. Miyabikai is a club which holdsworkshops on a style of Japanese doll making called kimekomi. Kimekomi means pushing fabric into grooves of a wooden doll form. The members are comprised of instructors and students who enjoy Japanese kimekomi doll making. Mataro doll is a type of kimekomi dolls. These dolls are the product of the Edo period (1600-1867) and have a history of more than 300 years. Our instructors are certified by the Mataro Academy in Tokyo, Japan. The group includes people located in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento area who enjoy making kimekomi dolls in the Mataro style. We make, teach the techniques of making, and share their dolls by displaying them at during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. The Mataro doll displays is on the 2nd weekend of the festival at the Union Bank Community Room, 1F Japan Center East Mall.


Always regarded as sacred, the taiko drum was first used to ward away evil spirits and pests harmful to crops. It was believed that the rain spirit would be forced into action if one imitated the sound of thunder during times of drought. The taiko was joyfully beaten to express thanks for a bountiful crop during harvest. Today, a cultural renaissance has taken place in Japan, leading to a rediscovery of native arts. Taiko enthusiasts have popularized and revolutionized the art around the world.

San Francisco Decorator Showcase



The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is widely considered to be the West Coast’s premier design showhouse event, renowned for featuring the work of the region’s top interior and landscape designers. All the funds raised through the Decorator Showcase go directly to support the San Francisco University High School (UHS) Financial Aid Program. The success of this important fundraiser depends upon the generous support of our sponsors, the school’s trustees, parents, faculty, alumni, students, friends, the participation of hundreds of accomplished designers, and the patronage of thousands of Showcase visitors each year.


Statistically, more than 550 designers have participated through the past 38 years, catering to approximately 15,000 visitors in attendance.

  • The proceeds go to San Francisco University High School Financial Aid Program (



The story of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase began in 1977, when Nan Rosenblatt, a former San Francisco University High School parent and an accomplished interior designer, and Philip Fernandez, the first president of the school’s Parents Association, conceived the first Showcase to raise funds for University’s financial aid program. In its first year, the Showcase netted $26,000.



The 2016 San Francisco Decorator Showcase will open to the public on April 30, 2016 and run through Monday, Memorial Day, May 30.


Purchase Tickets Here



Rebecca’s Tips: April Events

San Francisco is as beautiful as ever in April as the flowers are in bloom and the weather is perfectly cool and sunny. April is arguably one of the best months to visit!  Here’s some stuff to do here this month:





West Portal Sidewalk Fine Arts & Crafts Fair

April 8 – 10

This is the 28th year of the annual Fine Arts and Crafts Fair in the West Portal neighborhood. The three-day event runs from 10am to 5pm, featuring the photography, paintings, ceramics, and jewelry of more than 40 artists.


Cherry Blossom Festival

April 9-10 and April 16-17

The Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off this year’s celebration on April 9. This two weekend long event is a celebration of spring and the blossoms all over Japantown. During this event, you can enjoy traditional music, dance, and food. You can also sample gourmet treats and learn more about these gorgeous blossoms.


Free Museum Admission Days

Save money during these free museum admission days. Each month, several museums offer free entry into their permanent collection. Admire the exhibits of top museums including the Asian Art Museum, the Legion of Honor, and the de Young Museum.


Sunday Streets

April 10 – November 13

One Sunday each month (from April to November) is dedicated to bringing together and showcasing the best of a particular area in SF. Each free neighborhood festival features live music, activities for the whole family, and streets closed to traffic so you can truly explore the area and relax. This April 10, Sunday Streets kicks off in the Mission District.


SF Green Film Festival

April 14 – 20

The Green Film Festival aims to spark the next great environmental ideas by bringing together people from all over the globe to view and discuss insightful, innovative films that tell the stories of dozens of countries.


San Francisco International Film Festival

Dates: April 21 – May 5

This year brings the 59th edition of the longest-running film festival in the Americas—the SF International Film Festival—which features an impressive mix of marquee premiers, international winners, documentaries, musical performances, and more. This large festival should not be missed, as filmmakers come from nearly 50 countries around the world to screen hundreds of films.


Bay Area Dance Week

April 22 – May 1

Don’t miss these 10 days of more than 600 free dance classes, performances, and workshops, beginning with the very popular Kick-Off at Union Square.


Glen Park Festival

April 24


Opening Day on the Bay

April 24

This is an annual celebration for the maritime community, which includes the Blessing of the Fleet, a boat parade, and lots of sailing! This is the most popular day to go out on the water, and you’ll see the bay dotted with sails from Pier 39 to Sausalito.


Oscar de la Renta Exhibit at the de Young Museum

February 27 – May 30


Art Market

April 27 – May 1

Art Market SF has partnered with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in inviting thousands of visitors to view and buy an impressive selection of contemporary and modern pieces.


stARTup Fair SF

April 29 – May 1

The stARTup Fair allows unrepresented artists the opportunity to showcase their work in a world that offers less and less space for exhibitions. Join this group of creative, innovative art entrepreneurs and support emerging artists.


San Francisco Decorator Showcase

April 30 – May 30

This event, which takes place in the most prestigious San Francisco homes, is regarded as the West Coast’s premier design showcase event, featuring the wonderful work of the region’s top interior and landscape designers. All proceeds benefit the San Francisco University High School Financial Aid Program.



Home Improvement Fails: Don’t Do These!

You’re not the best at DIY projects, home tools or design scheming and settling on a budget contractor seems like the best plan… Here’s a tip: Wait until you can hire a professional! Here’s what could happen:


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